Researchers: There is No Running Away From Climate Change


The University of Guam and the University of Alaska Fairbanks are hosting the 7th Regional Island Sustainability Conference.

Guam – It is just the first day of the 2016 Island Sustainability Conference and keynote speakers already hit the topic of climate change hard.


Raaj Kurapati of the University of Alaska Fairbanks compared the Pacific islands to Alaska. He said, “People often ask me ‘why Alaska and the islands?’ It’s a good question but the reality is Alaska is no different from the islands. In Alaska, we’re seeing similar issues, the coastal areas we’re seeing erosion and buildings along the coast have fallen into the ocean because of climate change.”

Climate Change Negotiator Tony De Brum said even though the islands are slowly seeing the effects of climate change…”We don’t see being displaced as an option. We have discovered that these are the most vulnerable areas right now to climate change. We hope to deal with that to go and try to restore what was there before and help slow down the process of climate impact so we can buy time, technology, financing to do better,” De Brum said. 

De Brum goes on to say that it all started after World War II. “We found that in many of the island communities in Kiribati and the Marshall Islands and Palau, at the end of WWII, because of all the equipment that the military had with them, there was a tendency to backfill, and interfere with the natural flow of the lagoons and rivers and bays throughout the islands,” he said.
Lastly, University of Idaho’s Scott Slovic explained that there is no running away from climate change. “There is no away, you can’t leave one place and just go to another place. This may be a symptom of the larger tendency in the world to abandon something or throw it away when it seems like it’s not safe or not usable anymore,” he said. 
Slovic expressed that the only way is to adapt and spread awareness about sustainability in our daily lives. He said, “How do we travel from place to place, where do we get our resources for food and clothing, what kind of energy resources do we rely upon. What the high school students are doing, how do we build our buildings better.”